Alivecor, Inc. v. Apple, Inc.

Filing 302

ORDER REGARDING BILL OF COSTS re 295 Bill of Costs, 300 Response, 301 Costs Taxed. Signed by Judge Jeffrey S. White on 3/28/2024. (kkp, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 3/28/2024)

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1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 7 ALIVECOR, INC., Plaintiff, 8 Re: Dkt. Nos. 295, 300, 301 APPLE, INC., Defendant. 11 United States District Court Northern District of California ORDER REGARDING BILL OF COSTS v. 9 10 Case No. 21-cv-03958-JSW 12 13 Now before the Court is the Application for Bill of Costs filed by Defendant Apple, Inc. 14 (“Apple”) and objections thereto filed by Plaintiff AliveCor, Inc. (“AliveCor”). The Court finds 15 the matter appropriate for resolution without further briefing or oral argument. See Civ. L.R. 7- 16 1(b). 17 18 BACKGROUND After hard-fought litigation that included more than 30 depositions, multiple experts on 19 both sides, and cross-motions for summary judgment supported by a record of over 15,000 pages 20 of documents and a hearing which lasted almost three hours, the Court granted summary judgment 21 in favor of Apple. (Dkt. Nos. 285, 293.) Following its summary judgment order, the Court 22 entered judgment in favor of Apple on February 6, 2024. (Dkt. No. 287.) Apple filed an 23 Application for Bill of Costs on February 20, 2024. (Dkt. No. 295.) AliveCor filed a Notice of 24 Appeal on March 6, 2024. (Dkt. No. 298.) 25 Apple originally sought $132,445.64 in costs, consisting of $1,080.19 for service of a 26 deposition subpoena, $110,513.15 for deposition transcripts, $9,379.80 for deposition exhibits, 27 and $11,472.50 for reporting services at depositions. After the meet-and-confer process, Apple 28 agreed to lower the amount sought per page of its deposition transcripts and to forego costs of 1 serving the deposition subpoena, for a reduction of $7,196.85. (Dkt. No. 300.) AliveCor opposes the imposition of any costs and objects specifically to Apple’s request 2 3 for costs of deposition videos. (Dkt. No. 297.) AliveCor alternatively requests a stay of 4 enforcement of the cost award without a supersedeas bond. (Id.) The Clerk of Court reviewed the Bill of Costs and found $80,983.10 to be taxable. (Dkt. 5 6 No. 301.) The parties did not move to review the Clerk’s findings. See Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 7 54(d)(1) (“On motion served within the next 7 days, the court may review the clerk’s action.”). ANALYSIS 8 United States District Court Northern District of California 9 A. Legal Standards Applicable to Taxation of Costs. 10 Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d)(1) provides that “costs—other than attorneys’ 11 fees—should be allowed to the prevailing party.” Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 54(d)(1). Accordingly, “Rule 12 54(d) creates a presumption for awarding costs to prevailing parties; the losing party must show 13 why costs should not be awarded.” Save Our Valley v. Sound Transit, 335 F.3d 932, 944-45 (9th 14 Cir. 2003) (citing Stanley v. Univ. of Southern California, 178 F.3d 1069, 1079 (9th Cir. 1999)). 15 The Court “need not give affirmative reasons for awarding costs; instead, it need only find that the 16 reasons for denying costs are not sufficiently persuasive to overcome the presumption in favor of 17 an award.” Id. at 945. The Court may refuse to award costs to a prevailing party on several 18 recognized grounds, including: the losing party’s limited financial resources; misconduct on the 19 part of the prevailing party; the importance and complexity of the issues; the merit of the 20 plaintiff’s case, even if the plaintiff loses; and the chilling effect on future civil rights litigants of 21 imposing high costs. See id. (internal citations omitted); see also Wright & Miller, The Court’s 22 Discretion in Awarding Costs, Fed. Prac. & Proc. Civ. § 2668 (4th ed.). 23 28 U.S.C. section 1920 “enumerates expenses that a federal court may tax as a cost under 24 the discretionary authority found in Rule 54(d).” Crawford Fitting Co. v. J.T. Gibbons, Inc., 482 25 U.S437, 441-42 (1987). Civil Local Rule 54-3 provides additional “standards for interpreting the 26 costs allowed by section 1920.” Intermedics v. Ventritex, Co., No. C-90-20233, 1993 WL 515879, 27 at *1 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 2, 1993). 28 2 1 B. AliveCor urges the Court to exercise its discretion to deny costs because the case presents 2 3 issues of public importance and complex and difficult issues. The Court finds that AliveCor’s 4 arguments are insufficient to overcome the presumption in favor of awarding costs. This action, while of interest to the public, is fundamentally a dispute between AliveCor 5 United States District Court Northern District of California The Court Declines to Exercise Its Discretion to Refuse to Award Costs. 6 and Apple. AliveCor provides citation only to civil rights cases where the court determined 7 imposing costs on plaintiffs of modest means would risk chilling future civil rights litigation. See 8 Ass'n of Mexican-Am. Educators v. State of California, 231 F.3d 572, 593 (9th Cir. 2000) (noting 9 case raised “issues of the gravest public importance” regarding public school employment exam 10 with disproportionate failure rates by members of racial minorities); Darensburg v. Metro. Transp. 11 Comm'n, No. C-05-01597 EDL, 2009 WL 2392094, at *2 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 4, 2009) (noting 12 allegations of race discrimination in transit funding were of public importance). There is no 13 similar public interest or risk of chilling litigation here, where AliveCor represents it has sufficient 14 means to pay costs and where AliveCor’s proposed antitrust market consisted of, at most, three 15 companies. The Court agrees with AliveCor that the issues were close and difficult, but difficulty alone 16 17 is not enough to justify a denial of costs in this case. As Apple points out, the Court resolved 18 AliveCor’s claims using “previously defined standards” rather than a “novel legal development.” 19 Freyd v. Univ. of Oregon, No. 6:17-CV-00448-MC, 2019 WL 5682512, at *3 (D. Or. Oct. 25, 20 2019); (Dkt. No. 300, at 5). Where the case does not “raise complex or novel legal issues,” a 21 declination to impose costs is not warranted. Fowler v. California Highway Patrol, No. 13-CV- 22 01026-TEH, 2014 WL 3965027, at *6 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 13, 2014). AliveCor’s remaining objection to deposition transcript and recording costs was addressed 23 24 by the Clerk, who reduced the transcript and recording costs substantially. The Court finds the 25 Clerk’s taxation of prevailing party costs is proper. 26 C. 27 28 The Court Declines to Enter a Stay. AliveCor requests a stay of enforcement without a supersedeas bond pending appeal. A supersedeas bond allows a stay as a matter of right, but courts may exercise their discretion to stay 3 1 execution without a bond or alternate form of security. Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 62; Cotton ex rel. 2 McClure v. City of Eureka, Cal., 860 F. Supp. 2d 999, 1027 (N.D. Cal. 2012) (noting courts have 3 “broad discretionary power to waive the bond requirement if it sees fit”) (quoting Townsend v. 4 Holman Consulting Corporation, 881 F.2d 788, 796–97 (9th Cir. 1989)). “A waiver of the bond 5 requirement may be appropriate where: (1) the defendant's ability to pay the judgment is so plain 6 that the cost of the bond would be a waste of money; and (2) the opposite case, where the 7 requirement would put the defendant's other creditors in undue jeopardy.” Id. (quoting Olympia 8 Equip. Leasing Co. v. W. Union Tel. Co., 786 F.2d 794, 796 (7th Cir.1986)) (internal marks 9 omitted). United States District Court Northern District of California 10 While AliveCor states that it can pay the judgment, it provides no admissible evidence to 11 that effect. AliveCor does not argue that the cost of the bond would waste money, and Apple 12 protests that AliveCor did not seek its consent to request a stay. In contrast and by way of 13 example, in the case cited by AliveCor, the party requesting a stay without a supersedeas bond 14 obtained consent from the prevailing party, provided a detailed declaration of its assets, and 15 committed to submitting quarterly and annual financial statements while the appeal was pending. 16 Am. Color Graphics, Inc. v. Travelers Prop. Cas. Ins. Co., No. C 04-3518 SBA, 2007 WL 17 1520952, at *2 (N.D. Cal. May 23, 2007). AliveCor’s request here lacks any similar support or 18 reassurances to the Court and Apple. Thus, the Court denies the request. CONCLUSION 19 20 For the foregoing reasons, the Court awards $80,983.10 to Apple in costs as originally 21 taxed by the Clerk. (See Dkt. No. 301.) 22 IT IS SO ORDERED. 23 24 25 Dated: March 28, 2024 ______________________________________ JEFFREY S. WHITE United States District Judge 26 27 28 4

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